Focusing on quality results in increased value for our students
Saint Luke's College has a long and successful history of continuous improvement. Prior to our incorporation we actively participated as a
department of Saint Luke's Hospital in three successful Missouri Quality Award applications and a winning Baldrige Award application. As part of those winning efforts we adapted to higher education quality processes designed for healthcare.
After our incorporation as a stand-alone college in 2010, we transitioned to processes specifically designed for higher education such as Quality Matters and the Seven-Step Planning Process.
This transition was easy because everyone was already committed to the notion of continuous improvement and had a
working knowledge of quality principles in healthcare. In fact, the fundamentals of quality come naturally to nurses.
The nursing paradigm follows these steps:
1. gather data (blood pressure, temperature, blood analysis, etc.);
2. interpret the data (diagnosis);
3. develop a strategy (prescription);
4. implement the strategy;
5. monitor results.
This nursing paradigm is closely aligned with the Shewhart or Deming Cycle: Plan, Do, Study, Act.
During the College's long history it has maintained a singular, almost obsessive focus on producing outstanding nurses. To accomplish that objective outstanding faculty have been recruited and retained. Out of 26 faculty, many of whom are new because of our growth, 15 percent have been here for over 20 years; 12 percent over 30 years. This strong core has helped the institution maintain a relentless focus on quality nursing education. We have a large cadre of people who possess what the late Edwards Deming referred to as “profound knowledge” about quality nursing education.
Our singular focus on nursing education has enabled us to rank at or near the top on virtually every measure compared to our peers in both the state and nation when it comes to student learning results.
Our high level of student satisfaction has improved on 11 of the 12 measures that make up the Noel-Levitz survey and we lead our competitors in all 12 categories. Growth in satisfaction has been particularly dramatic in the categories of computing and student services. We outperform national comparisons in terms of faculty and staff satisfaction.
When it comes to efficiency, we continue to improve our processes and organizational effectiveness. We spend over twice as much per student on student services ($3,147 vs $1,254) and 65% more on instruction ($11,015 vs $6,687) than our peer nursing schools.
We have put major emphasis on identifying leading indicators of student success so that we can prevent failure, not react to failure.
We believe that building quality systems highlights the importance of nurturing a culture of quality. To quote from Phil Crosby in his book, Completeness: Quality for the 21st Century, “Quality is the skeletal structure of an organization; finance is the nourishment; and relationships are the soul.” We would add data to that formulation as the “lifeblood.” All of these come together at Saint Luke's College.